A Guide to Breast Wellness

When it comes to breast care, getting the right test at the right time for early diagnosis is critical. One challenge is the multitude of tests and seemingly changing recommendations on breast imaging. At Center for Diagnostic Imaging (CDI), we have partnered with radiologists specialized in breast imaging from Breast Diagnostic Center (BDC) to offer Breast MRI services in our Federal Way and Lakewood centers.

Diagnostic Imaging Guide for Breast Care

Diagnostic Imaging Guide for Breast Care chart

A Breast MRI is not right for everyone. The best first step in monitoring your breast health is to follow the American Cancer Society recommendation and get an annual screening mammogram if you are a woman 40 or older*. There are additional imaging recommendations and screening options for women found to be at higher risk to help monitor breast health, including Breast MRI. Those options and recommendations vary by person and your circumstances should be discussed with your provider.

If your provider recommends a Breast MRI, it may be for one of the following reasons.

Benefits of Breast MRI:

  • Further evaluate an inconclusive mammogram, ultrasound or physical exam for women with dense breast tissue
  • Screen certain high-risk patients, such as those with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation or strong family history of breast cancer
  • Determine the extent of a known breast cancer in order to assist with treatment options
  • Monitor response to breast cancer chemotherapy
  • Determine implant rupture or leakage

Where you go for imaging is up to you. When you choose an outpatient facility, like CDI, you tap into a more comfortable experience, with expertise in diagnostic imaging and often at rates significantly less than hospital-affiliated providers.

The Breast MRI Experience at CDI:

  • Our compassionate technologists take extra care to walk you comfortably through a Breast MRI exam
  • You will rest on a padded breast coil and may enter the scanner feet first or head first
  • An IV contrast injection may be administered by a certified technologist to optimize the images
  • Exams last 30-60 minutes
Before your exam:
  • Do not apply antiperspirant or deodorant prior to the exam as it may result in image artifacts
  • Ideally, premenopausal women should have the exam 7 -14 days after the start of their menstrual cycle
  • Women on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) should be off it 1 -2 months prior to the exam.

 

Navigating your imaging options for optimal breast health can be confusing. Talk to your provider about what options are best for you.

*Updated as of October 2015: An annual screening mammogram is recommended for women beginning at age 40, according to the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI). The American Cancer Society also recommends that women have the choice of begin mammography screening at age 40. For the complete, updated ACS guidelines, click here. Then, talk with your provider to find out what’s best for you.